Nice is a command in Unix and Linux operating systems that allows for the adjustment of the “Niceness” value of processes. Adjusting the “niceness” value of processes allows for setting an advised CPU priority that the kernel's scheduler will use to determine which processes get more or less CPU time. In Linux this niceness value can be ignored by the scheduler, however other Unix implementations can treat this differently.
Being able to adjust the niceness value comes in handy in two scenarios usually.
Linux has many tools available for troubleshooting some are easy to use, some are more advanced.
I/O Wait is an issue that requires use of some of the more advanced tools as well as an advanced usage of some of the basic tools. The reason I/O Wait is difficult to troubleshoot is due to the fact that by default there are plenty of tools to tell you that your system is I/O bound, but not as many that can narrow the problem to a specific process or processes.
Whenever I perform any type of activity that requires me to look at historical system statistics such as load average, CPU utilization, I/O wait state, or even memory usage; I usually skip the System Monitoring Applications like Nagios or Zenoss and start running the sar command. While I'm not saying that sar completely replaces those tools, I am saying that sar is quick and dirty and if all you want is some raw numbers from a certain time frame; sar is a great tool.